Encouraging Sustainable Jet Fuel by Reshaping Britain’s Aviation Taxes


The number of people that use sustainable aviation fuels could increase by reducing the air passenger duty (APD) paid to the British government. This suggestion was made in London by the Aeronautical Society’s Greener at Design conference. This happened almost concurrently with the issuance of a statement by European nations for a coordinated wide aviation tax in the EU to address the growing carbon emissions from the aviation industry. For a long time, the aviation industry has been opposed to the introduction of environmental taxes. However, this has raised concerns amongst the public due to the change of climate because of accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The sustainability director at Heathrow Airport in London, affirmed that the APD cannot be done away with or even reduced.

Matt Gorman somewhat suggested that the tax could be finessed so that airlines that use sustainable aviation fuel could get a lower tax. Gorman believes this could help with the confusion of where the tax arose from which has hindered attempts to resuscitate the dying biofuel sector. He added that together with the government, they are testing the solutions. Lord Adair Turner, current chair of the Energy Transitions Commission, similarly commented on the issue. He added that even though the APD grew unexpectedly and that the tax could help to increase the number of airlines using sustainable aviation fuel.

Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Italy France, and Bulgaria unanimously declared a proposal of aviation pricing. The nine countries argued that the pricing of aviation industry was quite imbalanced. Aviation transport does not pay excise duties. VAT is due on international flights including the coordinated ticket tax and economic instruments to control emissions of greenhouse gas. These factors can be strengthened in the aviation sector by adhering to the set-out rules and regulations.

The coordinating countries suggest that the passenger would pay a more reasonable price for air transport. This would give a better edge for all EU member states to fight the climate change. However, in response to all these suggestions, Airlines for Europe (A4E) said that the coordinated statement by the nine countries was full of flaws. A4E added that unlike other transportation industries, the airline sector pays for most of its own infrastructure. Thomas Reynaert, A4E managing director, argued that the EU should be supporting the effort of reducing the carbon footprint by psyching the investments in new technologies. This is possible through the provision of funds and subsidies, instead of taxing the airlines.


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